Category Archives: Pomquet

Acadian French area 25 minutes from Antigonish

Come by choice Saltscapes march april 2016 jpg

Come by Choice

We often hear stories of out-migration from Nova Scotia. Here are stories of people who have chosen to come and live in Nova Scotia.

Learn the stories of John Graham-Pole, Kulbir Singh, Carol Rivoire, Joe Van Heerden and Thomas Steinhart who have “come by choice” to Nova Scotia.

All of these individuals are living in small communities in Nova Scotia.  They see opportunities in our natural resources, the land,space, location and people. They have come by choice, and they bring new skills, talents, experiences and ideas and a fresh eye to what we have here. They often see potential in resources that we take for granted.

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Come by Choice Saltscapes March April 2016

 

Pomquet Day Trip

 

This article was originally published in The Casket Exploring Pomquet. The Casket June 18, 2015 http://www.thecasket.ca/archives/45730. This edition contains more photos and maps.

Relax or swim on a sandy beach, browse fashions, enjoy an Acadian lunch and hike through woodsy trails all in beautiful rural Pomquet, Nova Scotia. Just 12 minutes from Antigonish turn off on the Taylors Road exit from Hwy 104 to Pomquet and within minutes you are enjoying a country road with views of Pomquet harbour, rolling green hills and bird song.

The tiny Acadian community of Pomquet, overlooks the Northumberland Shore between Monk’s Head and Pomquet Harbour. This rich area of bay, harbours, islands and forest was for centuries the home of the Mi’kmaq and then settled by French settlers in the late 1700s.

Pomquet map

Pomquet map

From Taylors Road, take the left turn to L’Église Ste. Croix (Holy Cross Church) built in 1863. Genealogy buffs will find gravestones from the 1800s and the Pomquet Museum located just north of the church with historical photographs and genealogical information (Call 902-386-2679).

Continue on and turn right to Pomquet Beach Provincial Park, a peaceful long (3 KM) sandy stretch of beach on the Northumberland Shore. This is one of the best swimming beaches in the area and during the summer is supervised by lifeguards. Boardwalks lead up to the beach through the dunes and sea grasses. Enjoy a beach walk with the fresh salty air and the gulls above and a view of Cape Breton on a clear day, or beach comb for shells, stones and drift wood. Some areas are protected for the Piping Plover nesting sites. Facilities include change houses and washrooms.

Follow the wooden boardwalk trails from the beach parking lot with interpretive signs on the history, geology, plants and animals of this area. The grasses and plants found on the sand dunes are well adapted to the salt environment. The boardwalk protects the undergrowth and provides an easy view of blueberries, cranberries, beach mosses and grasses.

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Back on Monks Head road – continue on to Chez DesLauriers situated on a hill above Monk’s Bay, with a spectacular view of Pomquet Beach and harbour. The heritage home was built in the 1860s. Enjoy a home cooked Acadian lunch on Fridays during the summer. Learn about the geology and history of the area in the Interpretive Centre.

Behind Chez DesLauriers, wander to the top of the hill behind the house and well-marked signs point the way to the Acadian Trail, a 6KM series of loop trails along the meadow cliff, through the forest with mossy and well-kept paths, and along the shore. Bring along your nature guide books to identify mushrooms, mosses, trees and birds. The inland trail weaves through forests of various ages, including 100-150 year old pine trees, and views of Cape Breton Island in the distance.

Retrace your drive to the Taylor Road intersection and continue on to visit The Old Barn Gallery & Boutique to find hand selected one-of-a kind designer fashions, handbags, fun art and antique dishes. You will get lots of decorator ideas and you can enjoy cookies and tea on the patio. The Boutique recently was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Be sure to bring water, snacks or a picnic lunch, sunscreen, bug spray, and your sense of adventure.

Directions

  • Exit Highway 104 on Taylors Road between Exits 35 and 36. 10 minutes from Antigonish, 40 minutes from the Canso Causeway.
  • Or Exit from the 104 Highway on the Upper Pomquet Road across from the St. Andrew’s sign. Closest exit for Melanson Rd and the Old Barn Gallery and Boutique.

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Pomquet Beach

 

 

One of the best swimming beaches in the Antigonish area is Pomquet Beach.

This long sweeping beach (3KM) of sand and pebbles stretches along the Northumberland Shore. It’s a great swimming beach and in the summer and fall the air and water temperatures are almost the same. Lifeguards are posted on a marked stretch of the beach. In the distance on a clear day you can see Cape Breton.

Whether you enjoy swimming or beach walking this beach has lots to explore. Build sand castles, search for shells, and enjoy the bracing sea air. Sometimes the water is calm and flat. Other times you will find a small surf.

Boardwalks lead up to the beach and over the dunes and sea grasses giving a lovely view of the waving sea grasses that help to stabilize the sand dunes. Take the boardwalk trail that explores the different vegetation and history of the area with interpretive signs.   You will see blueberries and cranberries, mosses, a tidal estuary, old and new growth forest. The plants here are adapted to the salt environment. Some areas are protected for the piping plover when they are nesting.

Facilities include changing rooms and toilets. Be sure to bring your own water, sunscreen, snacks and anything to enjoy your day at the beach.

Directions

Pomquet Beach Provincial Park, is located north east of Antigonish off Highway 104 through the village of Pomquet. Driving from Antigonish take the Taylor Road exit off Hwy 104. Turn left at the end of that road on Monks Head Road and follow the signs to the beach. The last section of road Is a gravel surface. Stop at the bridge and you may see herons or other sea birds.

Pomquet Map

Pomquet Map

For more information

Enjoy an Acadian Lunch in Pomquet

 

 

Pockets of Acadian life are found throughout Nova Scotia. Pomquet is a small village just 20 min from Antigonish and just off the Trans Canada. It has a strong community spirit and beautiful setting.

You can enjoy an authentic Acadian Lunch at Chez DesLauriers in Pomquet village during the summer months. Every week has a different menu which you can find posted on their website. http://www.pomquet.net/en/chezdeslauriers.html

The setting is spectacular with Chez DesLauriers, a white heritage home on Monk’s Head having a view over St. George’s Bay and Pomquet Beach with a view to Cape Breton. Old photographs and antique home items provide the décor in the tea room. There is lively atmosphere from visitors and locals enjoying the food and company.   We enjoyed a great lunch of Fricot or Pate’ – both traditional Acadian dishes that I remember from my childhood.

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Next door the Interpretive Centre describes the history, geology and formation of the area and the people who have lived here and their way of life.   In the area behind the house the Pomquet Acadian Walking Trails are well marked and take you across the grassy cliffs with views of the ocean, wending through the forest, or down along the beach.

In August there are two special Lobster Roll dinners to look forward to.

Old Barn Gallery and Design

 

 

Old Barn Gallery

Where can you enjoy stepping back into history, see beautiful art, smell the flowers, admire the horses and experience a 166 year old barn transformed into an attractive gallery where you can browse and enjoy a delightful hour or two?

 

Where else but at the Old Barn Gallery and Design at Beaver Dam Farm Resort in Pomquet. The farm is owned by Carol and Arthur Rivoire  who built it up over 30+ years.  The gallery opened in July 2011 with partnership of Ed Mattie.  They realized that their collection of antiques, paintings and arts and crafts would be wonderful to share with a broader audience.  They setup their gallery in the 166 year old barn which gives the perfect ambiance for enjoying a peak into the past as well and enjoying arts from the current artists and crafts people in the area.

Quilts

Such a variety!  Old fashioned quilts – and new quilts with traditional or newly crafted designs. Paintings by owner Arthur Rivoire, local artist and partner Ed Mattie and others, antique dishes, wood carvings from burls with beautiful and exotic shapes and texture, old cradles, sleigh, and other home implements from the early 1900s,  handmade rugs, locally made wool blankets that remind you of your childhood, colorful antique boxes and containers, hand knitted items,  and more.  Carol Rivoire is welcoming and knowledgeable and loves to chat about the collection.

The gallery is surrounded by beautiful flower gardens, trails, horse stables and paddocks.  It is a delight to visit and I plan to go back often to enjoy more of the area.  It is very easy to get to and is only about 15 minutes drive from Antigonish. A great outing.

Photo Gallery

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More Information

Hike the Acadian Trail

The Pomquet Acadian Trail and Chez Deslaurier

Acadian Trail - Wildflowers

Colorful Wildflowers on the Acadian Trail

This October day was a perfect day for a hike with crisp clean air, deep blue sky with spectacular ocean views from a grassy meadow high above the ocean looking over St. George’s Bay and a view of Cape Breton in the distance.   The sunlight shone on fields of wild flowers in purples, yellows, golds, reds and orange with even a few butterflies and dragon flies humming around.

Chez Deslaurier is a tea house set in an old farm house on high ground, not

Chez Deslauriers

Chez Deslauriers – Pomquet

far from Pomquet.  This is an Acadian French area of Nova Scotia where French is spoken and Acadian traditions are still celebrated.

From the farm house you overlook Monk’s Head and a series of islands and islets and Pomquet Beach.  With the sun and cloud playing over the land and the sea you could sit for hours and watch the changes in the light and shadow.

Behind the farm house several old farm implements are set off in the grassy meadow.   Keep walking along the grassy track with the water to your right and you will come to the trail head for the “Acadian Trail”.

Pomquet Acadian Trail

Pomquet Acadian Trail – Map

The trail is well marked and has maps of the area with a choice of several loop trails. The trails wind  through a variety of natural areas. Numbered markers along the trails are linked to a self-guided interpretive brochure, available at Chez Deslauriers.  The walking is easy and suitable for families.  A longer trail continues along the water and along Monks Head.

The first part of the trail is along an old cart road through a grassy meadow

Acadian Trail

Acadian Trail

area.  In fall this was thick with wild flowers of all colors – Queen Anne’s Lace, wild roses, clover, daisies, asters and grasses.  Off to the right were the views of the deep blue ocean below and towards Cape Breton.    This grassy trail is along the cliff top with open fields and hedged with evergreens and the occasional fruit tree.

The path then descends with a choice of going to the right down to the beach.  We took the left fork which heads down into a beautiful forest area with a well kept trail.  There were many varieties of mosses in greens with patches of reds,

Acadian Trail Forest Path

Acadian Trail Forest Path

evergreens and many types of mushrooms.     The light filtering through the forest was cool and inviting and great for exploring.   This is a great place to go with your camera and bring along a book about trees or mosses.  You will definitely find lots to investigate.

A left turn at a small pond takes you back to the open old farm land and leads back up to the Chez Deslaurier house in a circle route.  The whole short loop route took less than an hour.    You can easily spend a day in the area exploring the different trails or head down to Pomquet Beach.

The Chez Deslauriers property is maintained and administered by the

Mushrooms and Mosses

Mushrooms and Mosses

Pomquet Development Society, a volunteer organization aimed at promoting the Acadian culture and encouraging tourism in the community.  According to Collette Rennie of the Pomquet Development Society,  “The trails are open year-round. [The Society] will be performing maintenance on these trails before the summer ‘walking’ season as winter along the coast can create much damage. The tearoom will be open each Friday beginning on July 8 from 11 AM to 2 PM.  We serve a different traditional homemade Acadian meal each Friday, along with traditional Acadian meatpie ($8 per meal). “

Chez Deslauriers Tea Houase

Chez Deslauriers Tea House and Interpretive Centre

“The interpretive centre will be open during those times as well. As well, we will have two lobster roll dinners during the summer – on August 14 and September 11. Both will be from 3-6 PM and include local entertainment, BBQ and a delicious lobster roll meal. The interpretive centre will be available to visitors as well during these two events. This information will soon be posted on our website.” (http://www.pomquet.net/en/trails.html )

Photo Gallery

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How to get there

To get to  Pomquet, take either Exit 35 or 36 north off Highway 104.  Then turn right at the north end of Monk’s Head Road and follow the gravel road for approximately 1.5 km.  It is approximately a 25 minute drive from Antigonish or 40 minutes from the Canso Causway if you are coming from Cape Breton.

Antigonish to Chez DesLaurier


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